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HOI4 Dev Diary - Combat and Stats changes

Hi everyone and welcome back to another dev diary! Today is about various changes that affect combat and units. With the Barbarossa update we want to shake up the meta a bit and also change a few stats and other aspects to make using the tank designer more interesting and rewarding.

High Command bonus changes
For a long time now unit bonuses from high command have confused people. Most expect that they apply to battalions, when in fact they apply only if their target unit type was “the majority type”, which was basically a weighted type count. They also could overlap, so infantry, mountaineers and artillery would apply to the same units letting you stack stuff in ways that was never intended and quite unintuitive.

Screenshot_1.png


This system has now changed, and divisions get bonuses based on their composition, this is a straight up ratio based on the number of non-support battalions of each type, so a 2x artillery 3x infantry division will be 40% artillery 60% infantry.
Battalions are always classified as a single type for this (even though some are scripted with multiple types) based on this priority:
cavalry > armor > artillery > motorized > mechanized > infantry

The exceptions being rocket & special forces, which both act as an addition, so if the 3 infantry divisions in the example above were mountain units, then the division would also be 60% special forces and if the 2 artillery are nebelwerfers it'd also be 40% rocket

When counting the battalions of armies (ie when we have an actual unit and not only a division template), battalions that lack equipment will count as less, so a Light Tank battalion with only half it's tanks will count as 0.5 battalions (and not count at all if without tanks). The total sum of the compositions will still end up 100% (unless every battalion is without equipment).

Screenshot_3.png


To make it easier to see this we now have an indicator in the division windows showing the breakdown.

Combat Width
As a part of our efforts to shake up the 40/20 width meta, we have made changes to the combat width of province terrain. Province widths now range from 75 to 96. Plains have a new base combat width of 90, while Mountains have a new combat width of 75. Most of these widths will not divide into each other easily, hopefully moving the ideal width away from multiples of 10.

Urban provinces are now the “widest” with a width of 96. But this does not mean they will be the easiest provinces to overwhelm. Mountains, marshes, and urban provinces now have reinforcement widths of ⅓ of province width instead of ½. This should hopefully give these provinces a slight defensive buff, while allowing us to open up pushing power in the more open tiles.


Screenshot_2.png


In conjunction with these changes, we have also been looking at reducing the overstacking penalty. We hope that this will alleviate some of the need to have divisions that are the perfect width for a given province. But at the same time, smaller countries should now be able to specialize their division width to suit their home terrain more appropriately.

Breakdown (numbers not final etc etc)
  • Plains
    • Standard 90
    • Reinforce 45
  • Desert
    • Standard 90
    • Reinforce 45
  • Forest
    • Standard 84
    • Reinforce 42
  • Jungle
    • Standard 84
    • Reinforce 42
  • Hills
    • Standard 80
    • Reinforce 40
  • Marsh
    • Standard 78
    • Reinforce 26
  • Urban
    • Standard 96
    • Reinforce.32
  • Mountain
    • Standard 75
    • Reinforce 25
One of the major things that make larger divisions like 40 width armor hit disproportionally harder than smaller ones is also how targeting and damage works inside combat in relation to the enemies defense. Essentially the larger divisions make more efficient use of concentrated damage as it punches through defense. To solve this we are doing a few things. First of all we are weighting the targeting towards wider divisions being more likely targets and also when picking targets to try and match it to have wider divisions spread damage over smaller rather than always concentrating it. They will probably still hit harder, but combined with width changes and other downsides of larger divisions it should make it less clear cut.
However, this part isn’t quite done yet though so I’ll cover it again in more detail in one of the “bag of tricks” diaries in the future when i see how it pans out, but I figured it needed to be mentioned now ;) That said though, to wet your appetites here is a little tease from a debug mapmode in development...
1620214309589.png


Armor and Piercing
Currently the effects of having stronger armor than the enemy can pierce, or being able to pierce an enemies armor are binary and give fixed bonuses. This meant that there wasn't really any benefit to have more armor than you needed to stop the enemies piercing, and also that being a single point of piercing under enemy armor was just as bad as having no piercing. So things were quite binary. With the tank designer coming we wanted to make it feel like your investments in upgrades were always worth it, so we are changing armor and piercing to have more gradual effects.

Armor > Piercing
  • Unit takes half damage (as it currently works)
Armor < Piercing and Amor > 0.75 * Piercing
  • Take damage between half damage to normal damage by difference in value
Armor < 0.75 * Piercing
  • The unit takes normal damage
Lets break this down with an example:
  • A panzer division has an armor value of 52
  • Its being attacked by an infantry division with some anti-tank guns. Their piercing is 60
  • If this was the old system this armor would be worthless and not reduce damage at all
  • Now because its close enough (between 60 and 45), so you get roughly half of the normal effect around 25% reduction of damage.

Reliability
For the tank designer it was important that reliability was more impactful if it was to be a good tradeoff with other aspects of design, so we needed to change it up (lest @CraniumMuppets 0% reliability tank monsters would take over the world). Now it will not just affect rate of loss in attrition but various other aspects:
  • Reliability affects losses from attrition like before
  • Reliability now affects org regain when moving, and also makes any weather related org effects more impactful when low
  • Lower reliability scales up all impacts from weather so if facing extreme weather a unit with low reliability equipment will suffer more of those weather effects
  • At the end of combat units with better reliability will be able to get back a certain amount of tanks etc to simulate that simple more reliable constructions would work better for battlefield repair and be less fragile when taking damage. So it's a bit like capturing enemy equipment in combat - but in reverse :cool:

Screenshot_4.png


Our goal is that this creates interesting tradeoffs when designing equipment and will make you have to consider if its worth switching a strategy focused on speed and firepower towards reliability when operating in bad weather and tough areas like the Russian winter or in northern africa or jungles.

Oh, and I figured now might be a good time to point out that there will be a future diary on weather changes and other cool related stuff, so these changes aren't completely in isolation. But one step at a time :)

But before we go, a few words about the studio...

Studio Gold
Hello everyone, my name is Thomas, but perhaps better known as @Besuchov here :)

As you saw here we have recently reorganized ourselves a little, moving from a big centralized Stockholm studio to splitting ourselves into Red, Green and Gold. This is mainly an internal org shift to make sure we keep our growing organization firmly focused around making good games. You shouldn't notice too many differences in the short term, we are still PDS making GSG on the Clausewitz engine, but it does mean that we can align each studio to the particular games. Since you will hear the studio names every once in a while, I just wanted to say who I am and what the studio is responsible for.

My role is Studio Manager, which means I'm accountable for the long term success of Studio Gold and working with things like management, staffing, and long term plans. Studio Gold has as its main focus Hearts of Iron (but we may or may not have some secret other stuff as well). Directly making the games though, that's still the job of Podcat and the team, but I intend to do my best to create an environment where we have the best chances to make great games together.

For me this is coming full circle at Paradox. I started as a programmer in 2004 and one of my first tasks was to work on Hearts of Iron 2. Since then I've done various things including being lead programmer for Hearts of Iron 3 (and Victoria 2), Project Lead for EU4 and more recently Studio Manager for PDS. Next to EU, HOI is my favorite game and I'm delighted to be back in a place where I can focus on fewer games and where that game is Hearts of Iron. You will see more of me in the future even though I will mostly take a backseat to the team working on the game.

That’s all, see you all again next week for more dev diary goodness!
 
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Uncharted95

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A great set of changes, cannot wait to try them out, awesome job paradox
 
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Furiosa2727

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Can someone explain this in basic terms? So is it like 10 width now or something? Like what is it 75 width? Is it 25 or something?
 
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Von Man Steiner

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This makes it seem like if you have 60 armour being attacking by 59 piercing the division is still receiving the full (50%) damage reduction despite being only a tiny bit over the piercing, is this true?
Only thing here I'm worried about. Don't make Heavy tanks even better than they are currently and AT even more useless
 
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Kosaki MacTavish

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For a long time now unit bonuses from high command have confused people. Most expect that they apply to battalions, when in fact they apply only if their target unit type was “the majority type”, which was basically a weighted type count. They also could overlap, so infantry, mountaineers and artillery would apply to the same units letting you stack stuff in ways that was never intended and quite unintuitive.

Screenshot_1.png


This system has now changed, and divisions get bonuses based on their composition
Figures, hope it would be all cleared up now.
Breakdown (numbers not final etc etc)
  • Plains
    • Standard 90
    • Reinforce 45
  • Desert
    • Standard 90
    • Reinforce 45
  • Forest
    • Standard 84
    • Reinforce 42
  • Jungle
    • Standard 84
    • Reinforce 42
  • Hills
    • Standard 80
    • Reinforce 40
  • Marsh
    • Standard 78
    • Reinforce 26
  • Urban
    • Standard 96
    • Reinforce.32
  • Mountain
    • Standard 75
    • Reinforce 25
Niceeee, now i would not be embarrassed on secretly fielding 26w Armoreds and other non "divided by 10"-width divisions.
  • Reliability now affects org regain when moving, and also makes any weather related org effects more impactful when low
  • Lower reliability scales up all impacts from weather so if facing extreme weather a unit with low reliability equipment will suffer more of those weather effects
  • At the end of combat units with better reliability will be able to get back a certain amount of tanks etc to simulate that simple more reliable constructions would work better for battlefield repair and be less fragile when taking damage. So it's a bit like capturing enemy equipment in combat - but in reverse
Hmm, so from my understanding, it's not just anything under 50% REL faces more harsh weather, but now the "(100-REL)%* Weather Effects" formula is the norm, right? Nice
As you saw here we have recently reorganized ourselves a little, moving from a big centralized Stockholm studio to splitting ourselves into Red, Green and Gold. This is mainly an internal org shift to make sure we keep our growing organization firmly focused around making good games. You shouldn't notice too many differences in the short term, we are still PDS making GSG on the Clausewitz engine, but it does mean that we can align each studio to the particular games. Since you will hear the studio names every once in a while, I just wanted to say who I am and what the studio is responsible for.

~~

For me this is coming full circle at Paradox. I started as a programmer in 2004 and one of my first tasks was to work on Hearts of Iron 2. Since then I've done various things including being lead programmer for Hearts of Iron 3 (and Victoria 2), Project Lead for EU4 and more recently Studio Manager for PDS. Next to EU, HOI is my favorite game and I'm delighted to be back in a place where I can focus on fewer games and where that game is Hearts of Iron. You will see more of me in the future even though I will mostly take a backseat to the team working on the game.
Glad to heard that the PDS' organization has been improved (if only slightly), hope it would be more in the future. My prayers for better communications in the Gold Team.

How is the AI at handling these changes, and will we ever see a dev diary on that?
Hope he would explain it in the appropriate Bag of Tricks DD.
This looks more like a temperature map mode no?
Definitely no, if it is, Southern Hemisphere would be a little chilly too (Atacama is a cold desert, not hot one). I assume it is the terrain mapmode.
 
Last edited:

Pilum2211

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It will be great to learn everything anew and get rid of the old crusty meta. It will be diifcult to adjust but I believe the payoff will be worth it. Especially with the Tank Designer making our Divisions much more dynamic.
 
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bitmode

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smaller countries should now be able to specialize their division width to suit their home terrain more appropriately
Yeah, because countries picked the number of battalions in their divisions by terrain... *facepalm*
 
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Massinissa

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Damn, I guess I won't be able to safely guard my ports with space marines with the new armor thingy.
 

manstein288888

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Blitzing France is much more fun now with larger combat width. I am going to smash 20 panzer divisions through the Ardenne Forest.
 
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Welcome back, Thomas!

I need some help understanding many of these changes, please.

High Command Bonuses

Let's take the example of General Simonds and his Artillery Attack +15%. If I build a 7 INF/2 ART division (as used to be the meta around 1.3), then 22% of the division is line Artillery. So would the whole division's Soft and Hard Attack each be boosted by 22%*15%=3.3%?

Combat Width

That said though, to wet your appetites here is a little tease from a debug mapmode in development...

I'm confused about how this map relates to the combat width changes. The colouring seems to be redder in hotter areas and bluer in colder areas in a Northern Hemisphere winter. So combat width will change with temperature?? I must be missing something.

Piercing and Reliability

These seem like straightforward changes that will be intuitive to understand. Great!
 
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I'm not sure I like these changes. It's going to be very difficult to optimize division design now, I expect most people will just go for 30/45 width divisions since plains are the most prevalent province type, and have duplicate templates to convert into for when trying to break important tiles like Kiev, or when going through the mountains of Italy.
In conjunction with these changes, we have also been looking at reducing the overstacking penalty. We hope that this will alleviate some of the need to have divisions that are the perfect width for a given province. But at the same time, smaller countries should now be able to specialize their division width to suit their home terrain more appropriately.
This would have been a very important aspect to go into more detail on, as whether or not the overwidth penalty is reworked makes a massive difference on the amount of division micro that will be required under the new system.
 
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Very interesting actually! It does mean that everyone is going to have to relearn how to play.
 
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Lech Kaczynski

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Have you considered making urban tiles have even wider widths like Moscow or Berlin? There were many divisions fighting in those cities during the real war, it would make combat completely epic.

Or... special widths for huge metro cities like Moscow, etc
 
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It looks good!
HoIV will be developing the right way to make it better and better. Thank you for your work in the past and the future.
 
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Von Man Steiner

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Yeah, because countries picked the number of battalions in their divisions by terrain... *facepalm*
Ummm except they did often times? An example of the Wehrmacht having specialized divisions for different terain:

Nazi Germany also organized "Jäger divisions" to operate in more adverse terrain.
 
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This system has now changed, and divisions get bonuses based on their composition, this is a straight up ratio based on the number of non-support battalions of each type, so a 2x artillery 3x infantry division will be 40% artillery 60% infantry.
Battalions are always classified as a single type for this (even though some are scripted with multiple types) based on this priority:
cavalry > armor > artillery > motorized > mechanized > infantry

Am i right to assume that the 60% Infantry Division gets 60% of the buff so that a 15% attack buff from the guy you put in your goverment effectly becomes a 9% attack buff for that Division? Or did I understand that wrong?
 
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Cypres

Second Lieutenant
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Nov 10, 2016
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Are there any plans to give divisions that are a mix of special forces/inf or tanks/inf a penalty in combat? With the changes to combat width and piercing i can see space marines becoming more OP than ever.
 
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